John & Anne Wiley

2014/10/11

Constant

The old saying goes something like, “The only constant is Change.” We just had some lessons in that. We decided to fly Tripp up to visit a dear sister in Seattle who was in a terrible freak vehicle accident. Our hope is to help out where we can, and add some fun and cheer to her days. So we started to plan for next week.

Then we realized Edmonton is relatively close, and we could visit our daughter and family. Starting to look at flying weather, I found that we could actually fly direct to see them first and enjoy a Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday. So suddenly our first plan changed and we had less time to prepare.

Then the weather forecasts began to include extreme wind warnings for Edmonton for our planned arrival tomorrow (Saturday). So we instantly went into emergency packing mode, and were able to leave SBA just before the last holes in the low clouds closed offshore. To break up the flying tomorrow we decided to fly about halfway, to Boise, ID. Because our plans were now in tatters and we got out of SBA at 9pm, and we had headwinds, we ended up flying nearly all night and arriving at 5am long after our hotel plan was out the window. Being dark except for the waning moon, we didn’t see much and took not a single photo (perhaps a first for us on a long flight over interesting terrain).

2303 Terminal Plan

2303 Terminal Problem

So we slept in recliner chairs in the “crew” room at the airport for three hours, then started making last minute plans for the border crossing. That’s when the plan met its End. Terminal error, as it were. In our haste, we’d left our passports at home. Even in our sleepy state it was instantly clear that this was a terminal problem. We had but a few hours before weather closed in everywhere, the authorities require lots of money, time and rare documents to issue a new passport, and nothing short of a friend with supersonic jet could get our passports to us in time for today’s flight.

Change is Constant.

So we changed plan to head for Seattle just before the forecast storms here.

2304 Over Boise

2304 Over Boise

At last we were flying in daylight, so there are some pix to share. Like this one of the first leaves turning in a small town along our route.

6438 Fall Color

6438 Fall Color

Much of the flight was over vast barren dry terrain, where vehicles on dirt roads stand out from the flat.

6453 Vehicle ID

6453 Vehicle ID

Or scenes like this, where the cars of a freight train trace a thin thread of colors.

2309 Colored Thread

2309 Colored Thread

Where there’s irrigated farming, lush green circles dot the land and scattered burning adds smoke signals.

2338 Fields & Fires

2338 Fields & Fires

On the aviation frequencies we heard some pilots around Boise reporting fires to ATC, but being near towns they were already known to fire agencies. So when I spotted what looked like a new wildfire in a remote non-agricultural area near Mt. Aix, I called it in and they seemed to take it quite seriously.

6473 Into Rainy Days

6473 Into Rainy Days

The storms actually arrived a little early. In fact we even flew through some scattered light snow flurries that were falling thru the clear air between cloud layers.  Happily we could see that Renton (Seattle) was still clear but by the time we landed we were very tired. We were also feeling great disappointment, sadness and frustration at not going for such a precious time with daughter and family. Yet we were happy, healthy, and glad to see Anne’s sweet sister.

Then we went to bed early (for us: 11pm) on our comfy high-end air mattress in sweet sister’s guest room. An hour later we woke on the floor. Being so totally sleep deprived by now, we just found the least uncomfortable position and slept another two hours. When we woke again aching in our bones from basically sleeping on the floor, I pumped it up again hoping for at least an hour. It went flat immediately. So we slept a few more minutes on the floor and got up to make coffee and figure out where we’ll buy a new air matt.

So begins our PNW Adventure. What other Change lies ahead on this journey?

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